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Global Assembly Line

Course Code
Michael Bunce

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Lecture 3 (Oct 4)
Why are my NIKE’s made in China?
Why are manufacturing systems global in scale?
What new patterns of economic activity has this produced?
How has this affected local and regional economies and societies?
Q’S 1 AND 2:
Increased locational flexibility in time and space
From Fordism to Post-fordism, from spatially-fixed to spatially dispersed
assembly line
Global scale spatial separation of manufacturing operations
Global outsourcing of materials and components
Global production and supply chains controlled by TNC’s (Trans-national
Read Crewe’s article on the fashion commodity chain
A good example is Philips, the Dutch-based electronics TNC: check it out at and suppliers/suppliers/
Supply and commodity chains:
the network of facilities and distribution capabilities an enterprise uses to:
"Source" (or "procure") raw materials (chemicals, ores, grains, ...) or components
Transform the materials or assemble the components into products
Deliver the products to customers (indirectly through distributors or stores or
directly to the purchaser)
Factors of the global assembly line
Comparative locational advantages – places, regions and countries that offer
cheap labour and land, lax social and environmental regulations, government incentives,
export production zones attract companies looking to minimize production costs.
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